"If you have knowledge, let others light their candle in it."

Margaret Fuller

We offer a number of resources to help inform and demystify eating disorders. Our website holds a wealth of information and links to other sources.  

SWEDA and Coronavirus

SWEDA recognises that the current coronavirus crisis is a worrying time for all. We want to restate our commitment to our vision, which is to support everyone in Somerset affected by eating disorders. Although we may need to change our working practices in line with government guidance, we will still be here for all of our current clients and any new clients who need us.

We recognise that those with eating disorders may be vulnerable physically and may need support more than ever at this time. We are determined to offer this where we can.

The SWEDA premises are now open and we continue to provide a range of online and face-to-face services. Many online options are still available to those who would prefer not to visit in person. 

If you have not yet contacted SWEDA but feel you need our help, please get in touch by email or phone and we will let you know what we can offer you.

General information about Eating Disorders

Although food is a key component in Eating Disorders, we recognise that Eating Disorders are not 'all about food'.

However, whether the disorder is Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Compulsive Eating or a mixture, the commonality is that eating disorders are all 'coping mechanisms'. They are expressions of psychological and emotional problems in which sufferers use food, albeit in different ways, in an attempt to cope with and manage their distress.

Estimates of the prevalence of eating disorders within the United Kingdom vary. The current estimate from the UK's National Eating Disorders Association suggests a figure of 90,000 individuals receiving treatment for either Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa at any given time in the UK. Further estimates put the total number of cases (diagnosed and undiagnosed) of Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa within the United Kingdom to be 1.5 million (EDA 2000).

A study, commissioned by Beat and produced by PwC in February 2015, estimates that more than 725,000 people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder (this used a more robust methodology than previous studies). Recent statistics from Beat suggest that around 25% of those affected by an eating disorder are male.

The Health and Care Information Centre published figures in February 2014 showed an 8% rise in the number of inpatient hospital admissions in the 12 months previous to October 2013. The Costs of Eating Disorders report found that this is indicative of the trend in increasing prevalence over time: a 34% increase in admissions since 2005-06 - approximately 7% each year.

Before the latest change in diagnostic criteria, it was estimated that of those with eating disorders, 10% were Anorexic, 40% were Bulimic and the rest fall into the EDNOS category, which included Binge Eating Disorder. Many current estimates do not include compulsive/binge eating in their totals as this eating disorder has only recently received recognition; consequently the numbers suffering from eating disorders in the UK are likely to be much higher.

SWEDA estimates that around 5000 people in the county of Somerset will have a clinical eating disorder with a further 5000 having an eating disorder that has a significant impact on their life and health. This includes women of all ages, the majority being between 14 - 35 years of age. Around 10% of sufferers are male. Eating disorders impact on family and friends of sufferers so the estimated figure for need in Somerset could be in the region of 50,000.

Despite there being a great deal of written material, research papers, personal accounts and several sets of 'Diagnostic Criteria' relating to eating disorders, views on eating disorders vary. Researchers and experts have yet to agree on a definitive model or treatment approach. It is fair to say that a clear understanding remains elusive and uncertainty still persists in many areas. In light of this, the process of coming to terms with and understanding these conditions can be extremely confusing for people with an eating disorder and those in close contact with them.

We have compiled a selection of 'further information' on eating disorders. It is neither exhaustive, nor authoritative and does not represent a model in itself. You may find parts of it complex and scientific, perhaps some a little light hearted and others a little alarming. However, it is provided in the belief that recovery is possible and with the hope that readers will be encouraged to begin thinking about recovery. 

The field of eating disorders is complex and there exists a variety of views, theories and opinions. Our intention here is to provide a range of academic, professional and personal views and give a starting point for those trying to begin to understand eating disorders. We hope you will find it useful.



Males & Eating Disorders

Support & Guidance

Eating Disorders and your Teeth

Health Problems Resulting from Eating Disorders

Preparing for social events & using coping strategies

“I had consistently been losing weight for more than 8 months and had become accustomed to eating very little. This triggered a return of my anorexia, after a 20-year period of recovery. SWEDA were able to offer me an appointment the very next day. When we met I was feeling very ill and frightened.I spoke to them about my fears, but then took the decision to go to my doctor on the way home. I was admitted to hospital within a few days.”

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